Archive for Friday, October 27, 2017

Editorial: LMH expansion is a good sign

October 27, 2017

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Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s plans to build a new facility near Rock Chalk Park is a win for the community.

The hospital’s board of directors voted to move forward with the purchase of a 20-acre site just northeast of the intersection of Sixth Street and Kansas Highway 10 west of Lawrence, where LMH plans to build a multimillion-dollar, 100,000- to 120,000-square-foot medical facility. The facility is the type of major development that could serve as a catalyst for the kind of commercial development city officials have long hoped would evolve in west Lawrence in general and around Rock Chalk Park specifically.

The new medical center will not replace the hospital. It won’t even have inpatient beds. But the new facility will offer a wide array of medical services.

LMH has reached a deal to partner with Lawrence-based OrthoKansas on a state-of-the art orthopedic facility for knee, hip, shoulder and other joint replacements at the new site. And the new facility will include space for primary care doctors, specialty physicians, image services such a X-rays, CAT scans and MRIs, and therapy services. Plans are for the LMH Breast Center to move to the location.

Russ Johnson, president and CEO of LMH, said LMH wants to ensure its outpatient services are as convenient as possible as the Lawrence health care market becomes more competitive.

“Thinking about Lawrence as it grows over the next 20 years, we feel like the hospital is really good for the central and east parts of town, and this will be a really good location for the west,” Johnson said. “And we really wanted visibility from the SLT.”

The city of Lawrence spent $25 million on the Rock Chalk Park sports complex, including infrastructure to serve the area. The hope always has been that the athletic complex — which includes the city’s recreation center as well as track, tennis, softball and soccer venues used by the University of Kansas — would spur retail development around the site. So far, such development has been minimal.

The hospital facility could change that as LMH’s facility will bring streets, sewer, water and other city services to the area, tearing down a major obstacle to small businesses locating on the remaining 70 acres available there.

LMH’s new facility will expand the availability of health care options in the growing West Lawrence area. It will add to the amenities and services at Rock Chalk Park and spur the kind of development that always has been envisioned there. Ultimately, it should be a significant benefit to Lawrence and Douglas County.

Comments

Mark Kostner 1 month, 1 week ago

Lawrence is about to pass the 100,000 population mark and could support two hospitals easily. At the rate it's growing it may even be able to support three by the time LMH West were to expand to a hospital. LMH is excellant and kudos that LMH wasn't sold to some health conglomerate back in the 1990s when it was common to that. Another great decision by Lawrence on its development. My curiosity is whether KU Health would move into Lawrence and build a satellite facility like its Indian Springs campus. KU and Lawrence does sound like a logical mix. It does have a ring to it. This western campus is in a good spot, near new neighborhoods and Rock Chalk Park where sports medicine would be needed and near I-70 and K-10 for access and visibility. It will will probably jump start retail around the 6th Street exit area.

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